The third edition of the ambitious Khelo India Youth Games will take place on a larger and grander canvas in the picturesque locales of Guwahati, starting from January 10 till 13 action-packed days later.
This was announced today at the launch ceremony event, attended by the Honourable Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports (Independent Charge), Government of India, Shri Kiren Rijiju. The event marked the unveiling of the composite logo of the third edition of the Games, the players' jersey, the Games Mascots and the theme song at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium in Sarusajai. Athletes Hima Das, Swapna Burman and Lovlina Borgohain joined the ceremony, which was attended by a host of dignitaries from the world of sport.
Envisioned by the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, the Khelo India Games was launched in 2018 to imbibe a culture of sports in the country and to fortify it at the grassroots level with the eventual goal of making India a sporting powerhouse.
The host state of Assam is confident that the Khelo India Youth Games will enthuse its kids and youngsters to take up sports in a big way, consolidating their dream of emerging as a hub for sports talent in India. At the same time, they will want to showcase their culture and emerge as a tourist destination.
This year, over 10,000 participants from across the country will compete in 451 medal events and the coveted purse in 20 sport disciplines, two more than last year, making it one of the largest sporting initiatives for Indian youth ever undertaken. The cycling and lawn bowls have also been added to the list of competing sporting events this year.
Honourable Chief Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal expressed at the launch:
Later, he promised, “We assure each participating athlete a wonderful experience in our state which is known for its rich culture and hospitality. We are equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure to make it a memorable experience for all the participants.”
Honourable Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports (I/C), Government of India, Shri Kiren Rijiju, a resident of Arunachal Pradesh, too believes that the Games can spark a revolution across the North-East region.
“The Khelo India Youth Games is one of the most empowering initiatives of the Indian Government that hopes to not only give a platform to youngsters from all over the country to make a future in sport but also to build India into a sporting nation,” Shri Kiren Rijiju said at the launch ceremony on Saturday. “I invite every sports-loving and talented youngster to grab this opportunity and begin his or her journey towards excellence. Playing sport is also a great way to build one's character and have a fitter body and mind,” he added.
Hima Das, one of the most celebrated athletes from Assam, was also present at the launch ceremony event to unveil this year’s Games jersey. “This is the biggest boost for us athletes not just in terms of scholarships but also in terms of moral encouragement and motivation. I thank the Government for its vision and want to urge every youngster interested in sport to make the most of this golden opportunity,” said Hima.
Pugilist Lovlina Borgohain, another jewel in Assam’s crown, expressed her delight at being the hosts for the Khelo India Youth Games. “We are all so excited that the Games are taking place in our home state. I believe that this is going to spark a huge interest for sports amongst children and youngsters, who are already showing signs of dominating on the national sporting platform,” she said.
The Games have already turned into a movement with most of the states investing huge sums in identifying, grooming and training youngsters with an eye on the overall champions trophy. Last year, Maharashtra bagged the winners’ mantle, bagging 85 gold, 62 silver and 81 bronze medals. Maharashtra, Haryana and Delhi have been amongst the top three in the previous editions, with Haryana emerging as the winners in the inaugural year.
Close to 3,000 promising and talented athletes have already benefitted from the Khelo India Scheme, each of them winning a scholarship of Rs 5 lakh per annum, with Rs 1.2 lakh going directly into their account, annually for eight years.
The Games will be telecasted live on Star Sports and Doordarshan, with a minimum of 7 hours earmarked for each day.